Foster Youths in Crisis
January 1, 2020
I am preparing to publish my first novel Fair Trade, which deals with a homeless young teen who has run away from the foster system. My own family is a multicultural blend of Caucasian, African American, Native American, and East Indian backgrounds. Five members of my extended birth family were adopted from foster care. I am hoping that my fictional tale will help to illustrate how family ties are formed in many ways. I also intend for this story to explore the idea that children and youths are sometimes thrown into the foster care system through mistakes, tragedies, and other causes that do not indicate a parent’s abandonment. I do not intend the book to be a blanket condemnation of state-run foster systems, but I also bear witness that abuse does occur. From my own involvement in the teen foster situation in Sacramento, I find this website to be very informative. I also hope that this story will provide a few suspenseful moments for my readers!
Fabric Art, et. al.
January 9, 2020
Everyone has an artist inside them. Their artist may have been squelched in their childhood because they colored outside the lines, or didn’t do what their art teacher told them to do, or played something other than the music written on the score. They are not failures. They are independent spirits! Here is a beautiful site that encourages anyone and everyone to create.
Our greatest inhibition in using our creative instincts is the judgment that we have felt from others in the past. My message is that everyone should create, if only because that is what you were created to do. Also because it’s fun. Finger paint. Play with clay. Cut up fabric. Paste things together. Build a sand volcano. Get your fingers down in the muck. It will make you feel better. You don’t need to show it to anyone but yourself. Try this site for inspiration.
This is a fabric art called Starry Autumn Night that I created while my partner was receiving a stem cell transplant and we were far from home (and our dogs!) Working on it gave me a lot of peace while he recovered. It is no masterpiece, but it brought me joy. There is so much that you can do with, really, just scraps! Read here to see more examples.
The Hazards of Hoarding
January 20, 2020
While I was on my morning walk today, I was thinking about the element that hoarding plays in my novel Fair Trade, and I remembered something. As a very young child, my absolute favorite book was Mr. Grabbit the Rabbit, by Virginia Hoff. It tells the tale of woe that came upon Mr. Grabbit when he kept collecting stuff and couldn’t seem to get rid of any of it. I was forever imprinted by the lesson that one shouldn’t accumulate too much stuff. It’s no longer in print, but you can get a used copy (fairly expensively) on Amazon and a few other sites. See this site for more information that afflicts hoarders (and their loved ones.)
March 8, 2020
I have added another true story to my tab on Essays and Stories. Please take a look at the remarkable woman who had such a positive effect on my life. If you have an elderly relative who has lost his or her sight, you may want to check out the following link: National Federation for the Blind
July 5, 2020
Paul Geenen (my brother-in-law) has published a chronicle of fifty years in an African American area of Milwaukee (Milwaukee’s Bronzeville: 1900-1950, copyright 2006, Acadia Publishing) in which he records personal and family stories told to him by elderly African American residents of that area. He provides beautiful photographs and personal memories, both good and bad, of that time and place in segregated America. Many of those who shared their stories with him showed a persistence and character that we would all do well to emulate. This is one of many histories that should not be lost to time.